By Elizabeth Quigley, MS, RD, CDE
DHAC Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator
Ah, the holidays – that time of year when the pace becomes hectic and our social calendars are booked with parties, dining out, functions, etc. The average American gains seven pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, and then starts the New Year resolving to take that extra weight off. This year it doesn’t have to be that way if you follow these smart eating rules for healthful – and satisfying – holiday feasting.
- Think ahead! Make a list of all your upcoming holiday meals and gatherings, and mark them on your calendar. On days you have a party, try to make low-fat choices at your other meals so you can be a little more lenient with your caloric intake at the social gathering.
- Do not skip meals or snacks before you go out. That usually backfires and results in extreme hunger and then overeating at the social event.
- Drink plenty of fluids (water, calorie free beverages) before and during the party. These help you to eat less.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. It not only contains a lot of excess calories (150 cals/12 oz. of beer or 100 cals/ounce of liquor plus mixer), but it also decreases willpower to avoid those other high calorie temptations.
- Socialize away from the food table. The sight and smell of food is a real trigger. Fill your plate and then move to another location.
- Offer to bring a low fat offering to the party. Almost everyone is watching their calorie intake, so they too will appreciate a raw vegetable or fruit platter with low fat dip.
- Make sure that you stick with your exercise plan. It’s all the more important to exercise over the holiday season to help burn off the excess calories and work off the holiday stresses and strains.